The only "chemicals" I use are an extremely mild lactic acid based cleaner and a pre/probiotic on toilets and kitchen tops. And I don't use any fragrances anywhere.
My allergy problems have disappeared. I really recommend this approach. Cheap chemicals are a disaster for ones health.
Microfibres are cool, but I've seen inconclusive evidence they might shed asbesto-like particles. So I'm waiting for better testing.
Myself I have an allergy to grass pollen, but the catalyst that really brings it out is car exhaust. Personally I believe that the chemicals in our environment are catalysts for natural sensitivities, turning them into allergies.
If it's ultimately not falsifiable, it's not science.
This is similar to smoking. Smoking is a good explanation for a large amount of the cases of lung disease at the population level and is falsifiable at that level. But it is impossible to say that smoking caused a particular person’s lung cancer.
So my original comment of “I wonder if...” is just that. A musing, not a hypothesis. I can’t prove anything for a particular person. But maybe more people will be aware of the hygiene hypothesis and might take it into consideration.
Friends washing their clothes in perfume however there is no cure for yet.
I claim that an individual has never before - in the history of mankind - been exposed to so many and different microorganisms as we are now.
Comparing my daughter to my granddad, born 99 years before her, she probably meets as many "new" people per week - if not day, as he did in a whole year when growing up in a reasonably average community not far from a large city.
Me and my wife works in large organisations, and it's representatives are visiting or are visited by hundreds of people from around the world - every week, as do many - most in fact - of the other parents in her school of about 1000 students.
I have lunch in a canteen where approximately 3000 people eat every day, and we all are slopping around in the food warmers and salad bar sharing the utensils and pawing the bread with our halfheartedly washed hands.
On the way to our offices and schools we commute with thousands and thousands of people, all sniffling and coughing it seems.
The interconnectedness of it all is just - mind boggling. We are never more than 2 steps away from someone that were on the other side of the world, yesterday. Hopefully not in an Ebola zone.
A hypothetical "natural" state, where you sleep in a stack of hay with your pigs, and meet one "outsider" twice a a year doesn't seem to tax the immune system even a fraction of what we have to deal with today. Even it's a lot of microorganisms, it's yours (and the pigs) - unless some pigeons shit in your haystack/bed.
EDIT: AC and the recycled air is the actual point of this comment. fluids was the joke, apologies to offended. north america breathes AC recycled air. no one else does. at least not to this extent. at the same time, one of the standard conversation topics amongst immigrants (to NA) is "wtf does everyone here have allergies and what are they anyway?". until they develop their own after living here for a number of years.
You can call this water insomuch that it contains water (kind of like wine)
What incredible crap.
I use a Miele C3 Silence vacuum cleaner. It's the cheapest (~€220) Miele vacuum cleaner that has top (A class in EU) filtration. More expensive models just buy you more accessories. Sadly, Mieles are super expensive in the US, and you can't do arbitrage due to different voltage. Nilfisk made in Denmark used to be extraordinary, but now they are pretty mediocre. /u/touchmyfuckingcoffee is a very famous vacuum technician in Reddit, and he recommends Miele and Riccar. He doesn't like bagless. Neither do i. Worse filtration and a mess to dispose if you are allergic.
I use a Coway 1008 DH air filter. It's cheap (€400), efficient, and uses low energy. IQAir has great reputation, but in some tests it has shown mediocre performance . Perhaps these tests are not measuring particles in the smallest range, where IQAir claims to excel. I've seen some guys from IQAir at HN, perhaps they can clarify.
For house cleaning I use stuff from Sonett. Bio-D is also good, cheaper and easier to find. I also use probiotics from Chrisal. In the US, these might not be easy to find. I'm sure there are equivalent brands there. Check their ingredient lists. Bio-D cleaning stuff is so safe their hand soap is basically the same formula as their countertop cleaner. Many items are certified by Allergy UK.
I'm happy to hear any other recommendations from fellow allergics. I also found a two-stage filter for my shower (Sprite + Vitamin C Sonaki) did wonders to avoid spraying chlorine into my airways and reduce inflammation and itchiness.
I'd like to add a me-too. We bought a Kärcher SC3 to remove old wallpaper when we moved to another apartment (IIRC the price of hiring a steamer for a couple of days made buying one attractive). We use it now to clean our tiled floors, the bathroom, etc. and it has been excellent. The hot steam removes most stains without much effort, it works without detergents, and it is far less work than mopping the floor.
In any case, they use little water. Like 1 tank for 90 m^2. You can always buy distilled water, or use water from your osmosis filter.
The product page for the model recommended in that wirecutter article even has a cutaway view, showing that it's just a HEPA filter + carbon filter + fan.
But yeah if you don't care how they look or how noisy they are just assemble one yourself and blast it on max. That's what I did for two years in China and it worked (had a separate particle counter to measure PM).
Are you talking about other filters to filter the larger particles, and carbon filters? Because aliexpress sell them too.
It's understandable. On a small machine with little power, if they put a better filter (more resistance) the vacuum is not going to have much suction.
It could have been a tabloid-ish thing I don't recall where I read it but I often think about it when I am enjoying a hot shower.
What about mold?
Be aware that the mechanisms behind most modern drugs are mostly theories.
Respect the law of unintended consequences.
Listen to your body carefully, give it rest when it wants, and trust your body to do its own healing.
When your life is in danger, consider medical professionals.
Can cleaners be an irritant to the lungs? Of course. Inhaling a lot of things can be an irritant.
Most cleaners that consumers use are surfactants sometimes mixed with alkylbenzonium disinfectants (in very low concentration). Even cleaners that are ammonia based aren't harmful.
Now on the professional side, I could believe there is risk. Some of those chemicals are very harsh.
And for industrial cleaners, read the MSDS and act accordingly. It's not that hard to find the correct version of masks and gloves for the task you do everyday.
Also just about anything is a "chemical", and there is a plethora of cleaning products, what agent exactly in cleaning products do they speculate causes this damage?
I've been suspicious since they were posted, for a simple reason: so where's the lung cancers in aging housewives?
I say that as someone who majored in human bio and can only imagine that inhaling these chemicals will have adverse effects on your health.
We also have a lot of info around the effects of ammonia. The body is very good at eliminating it. Heck, doctor's use ammonium chloride to acidify a patients urine.
Could you inhale enough to irritate your lungs? Sure. But it's not going to cancer or something.
I think we're assuming here that it's something like asbestos lung cancer. Asbestos is not a poison, just an irritant. Presumably nobody is getting poisoned here; chronic irritation is triggering problems.
I guess my point is that there is no mechanism by which ammonia could cause something like this. It's a simple molecule that pretty much causes irritation due to it's alkaline properties.
This follows pretty simply from the idea that cancer is caused by accumulating mutations (which you seem to believe), so why do you say "no mechanism"?
Your point about higher turnover of cells aligns with the idea of more cell division and thus higher chance of mutation. However, just because a chemical causes irritation doesn't mean it increases cell turnover.
Also, turnover alone doesn't necessarily drive mutations and scientists don't really know why. Retinol A, rapidly increase skin cell turnover and is used to treat acne, but I've never heard of a mutation risk associated with it.
Interesting, do you have a source you like for this? This would indicate major problems with that model.
I mean if you're inhaling anything with benzene rings on a regular basis, you should really wear a mask and so not do that, but inhaling 2x your daily dose of surfactant once a week is probably fine for the home cleaner. Skip the BBQ that weekend and it probably balances out.
It's not uncommon for commercial cleaning products to contain these ingredients, as well as other potentially hazardous combinations of chemicals, and there isn't enough awareness of the very serious consequences to their misuse.
Does anyone know specifically what cleaning chemicals the study is talking about though? Always annoyed by the absence of what seems like basic information in reports like this.
Also the claim that all we need is "water and a cloth" is rubbish. You will just spread the bacteria around from one place to another with water and a cloth only.
I recently started using an organic "food safe" spray in the kitchen for general surfaces and chopping boards. Smells nice very natural, all natural ingredients and stops nasty things living on the wooden cutting board. Water and a cloth would do nothing, you need to make it an unfriendly place for bacteria, but safe for cutting up food.
Both the professional cleaners and at home cleaners were impacted.
Could be that less dust decrease lung capacity... Unlikely, but who knows?
That is, if I wore a dust mask while I cleaned—or if I sprayed the cleaner directly into a cloth pressed against the bottle, then rubbed the cloth against the surface—would that help? It'd reduce cleanser vaporization, I'd think, but not do much to help with avoiding evaporated cleanser gas.
Much discussion on Reddit a couple of weeks ago when this study was originally published: https://www.reddit.com/search?q=cleaning+products+lung
>'Based on the entrance questions (wording at http://www.ecrhs.org ), participants were categorised as “not cleaning”, “cleaning at home” and “occupational cleaning”. Participants responding “yes” to at least one module entrance question, answered a questionnaire concerning use of cleaning agents (sprays, other cleaning agents); defining the exposure categories “not cleaning”, “≥1 cleaning spray ≥1/week”, and “≥1 other cleaning product ≥1/week”.'
The study did not find any harmful effects comparable to those seen in women in the men they studied."
>"While the results appear dramatic, the researchers speculated chemicals in cleaning products irritate the fragile mucous membranes lining the lungs, which over time leads to lasting damage and “remodelling” of the airways."
But there's nothing about lung cancer, which makes the impact on lung health not remotely similar to a pack a day cigarette habit.
I don't see any reference to study on particular cleaning solutions, exposure times, or any particularly reliable control. I'll continue working under the assumption that long term exposure to any chemical can be associated with an increased health risk - until a more detailed study is done there's really no actionable conclusion here.
>Alcohols are not recommended for sterilizing medical and surgical materials principally because they lack sporicidal action and they cannot penetrate protein-rich materials. Fatal postoperative wound infections with Clostridium have occurred when alcohols were used to sterilize surgical instruments contaminated with bacterial spores. 
It's probably fine for most household uses, but it does not sterilize like you said it does, and if you're trying to clean something that you know is contaminated by disease-causing bacteria (eg cleaning the bathroom after someone has had the stomach flu) or someone immuno-suppressed lives in your house, you probably should reach for something stronger.
Isopropyl alcohol also, like you mentioned, evaporates quickly. You mention this as a benefit, but fast evaporation also means that you are likely inhaling a lot of alcohol particles as you clean, which is not good for your lung health either.
This is all moot probably because homes don't need disinfection (hygiene hypothesis implies you probably need the opposite) but alcohol will certainly kill most things. It would be extremely rare for you to need to kill exotic things like bacterial spores that need nuclear options like autoclaving to kill.
On the other hand, C. difficile (a bacteria responsible for diahrea/stomach flu) does produce spores which are not killed by alcohol cleaners. Similarly, viruses like norovirus (also responsible for "stomach flu") are not effectively disinfected by alcohol, which is why I mentioned that if you're trying to clean up after a bout of stomach flu, you might want to reach for something stronger (like a bleach based cleaner).
I put a white vinegar and water mixture into one of those inexpensive reusable spray bottles found in the cleaning aisle. If you need something a little stronger scrub with baking soda then squirt on vinegar, the two react together (base + acid) creating CO2 and further loosening grime as it bubbles.
I'd like rubbing alcohol, but the local supermarkets only sell it in the pharmacy and the bottles are a little small/expensive to use for cleaning ($2/ea for ish 500ml size).
Only chemical product I still use is toilet cleaner, since I've not found a safer alternative that actually works. Any suggestions there would be welcome.
Random pro-tip: They sell these spray bottles which release an ultra-fine mist. They're designed for hair/beauty but are absolutely fantastic for cleaning too. Just only put water in them as they're quite expensive relative to normal sprayers look up "Flairosol Mist Sprayer." You hand pump it a couple of times to compress, and then it mists like a deodorant. They're fantastic. Also great for hair.
Though I have no idea why you are taking me to task here since it was intended as tongue in cheek humor mirroring the famous movie line to the effect that "The only way to win is not to play".
However, if you want to debate this, it is humorous to me due to the element of truth that I essentially never clean, I just don't let things get dirty. But most people don't actually want to have any idea how that can be done because whenever I talk about my personal choices for my life, they feel judged in an ugly way for reasons I cannot fathom.
Not saying it is literally true that you can simply never clean. But you can do a lot more prevention than most people seem to imagine is possible.
And, of course, I have long utilized a few loop holes that will largely go away should I manage to buy a house.
Dust is created by not just hair and skin but all upholstered items, cloth items, books, particle board etc. The less of that you have, the less dust and dirt you have.
2. No deep frying.
It's the single nastiest way to cook and coats the entire kitchen in grease. It also is terrible for your health.
3. Keep your own hair short and do a lot of walking.
The lymphatic system is powered by motion. It is how the body takes out the trash. If you are clean and healthy, you leave less detritus all over the house.
4. Make it a habit.
You just get good at not letting things happen because it takes so much less effort to just not get dirty than to clean it up. Once you have a certain awareness, you just don't do things that lead to dirt.
I currently live in an SRO. So I have neither a kitchen nor a bathroom of my own. There are facilities down the hall and management cleans them about three times a week. If I buy a house, I will have to do some cleaning that I can currently skip due to not having private facilities of my own.
Agree, deep frying should be avoided greases up surfaces even with an extractor. And I'm a fan of minimalism too.
Nothing good comes from breathing cleaning spray, and this research references other pieces to suppprt that claim, but it seems possible that this research is honing in on some other common factor besides cleaning exposure, else degree of exposure is negligible in the outcomes and male biochemistry renders men immune to this effect.
This is what I do. I have a nice batch of coconut/castor/olive/cocoa soap curing under the sink. It's literally just water, vegetable oils, and some sodium hydroxide.
So I get really lazy, and soak a sponge in phosphoric acid then rub it gently on the glass around the shower. Leave for 2 minutes, and the limescale in gone! It's much easier than any "real" cleaning product, and the phosphoric acid is the equivalent of about $1.50 for a litre.
But I don't know if it's bad for me. I wear gloves.
 "pH 1.0" and "contains phosphoric acid" is all the label says.
I found a safety information sheet , which says the phosphoric acid solution contains 5-15% phosphoric acid. That's stronger than Limeaway. If I pour it on limescale deposits I can hear it fizz.
The from-a-supermarket strong toilet bowl cleaner here (probably applies to most of the EU) contains "9% w/w -- 94 g/L HCl"
 Full text: http://www.thoracic.org/about/newsroom/press-releases/resour...
(Lung health is measured by lung capacity by them)